December 9, 2020: Before sunrise the Crescent is near the star Gamma Virginis while brilliant Venus is low in the southeast. In three mornings, a thin moon joins Venus before sunrise.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 7:07 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:20 p.m. CST. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Before sunrise the crescent moon is about halfway up in the sky in the south-southeastern sky. It is among the stars of Virgo, near Gamma Virginis (γ Vir on the chart). The moon is 33% illuminated. Tomorrow morning, the moon is near Spica.
Venus is lower in the southeastern sky among the stars of Libra.
On December 12, the thin crescent moon is above Venus. The pair should inspire photographers and artists.
Reflected sunlight from Earth’s features gently illuminates the night portion of the moon. This is known as earthshine.
The earthshine effect can be seen with a binocular or small telescope. Get ready for the scene that occurs in a few mornings to capture the scene in a creative way.
The photo above from earlier during 2020 displays the earthshine effect.
Detailed Note: One hour before sunrise, the moon (24.3d, 33%) is over halfway up in the sky in the south-southeast. It is 3.3° to the upper right of Gamma Virginis (γ Vir, m = 3.4). Venus is lower in the southeast, about 11° in altitude. It is 3.4° to the upper left of ι Lib.
Read more about the planets during December.
April 25, 2021: Mercury passes Evening Star Venus this evening after sunset. Look low in the western sky about 20 minutes after sunset. Mars is marching eastward in Gemini, near the star cluster Messier 35. The bright moon is near Spica.
April 25, 2021: Morning planets Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeast before sunrise. Jupiter is in front of the stars of Aquarius, while Saturn’s starry background is Capricornus.
April 24, 2021: Brilliant Evening Star Venus and bright Mercury are entering the evening sky. They are low in the west-northwest during evening twilight. The bright moon is in the southeast in Virgo. Mars moves into Gemini as it approaches the star cluster Messier 35.
April 24, 2021: The bright gibbous moon is near a star in Virgo during the early morning. From parts of the Western Hemisphere, the moon covers the star. Before sunrise, bright morning planets, Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeast before sunrise.
April 23, 2021: Evening Star Venus and Mercury are entering the evening sky. They are found very low in the west-northwest after sunset. The bright moon is in the southeastern sky during the early evening. Mars is moving toward the star cluster Messier 35.